Friday, July 10, 2015

Animating and Physics

I just realized that, while my title has both animation and education, this has been fairly one sided.  So, for my new Exploratorium followers that I name dropped this blog to (Hi!), this is for you.

First, the basics of animation.  A really great video to start with is a Ted Talk on animation.  It shows some cool examples of different types, because I feel people forget that animation is not just Mickey Mouse.

What I do in my class is show them the basics of animation and then talk about vectors.  The powerpoint, as I went over it in a demo, needs a lot of work, but the basic idea is fun.  Students need to be able to add the velocity vectors to the bouncing ball path as well as acceleration vectors.  A common issue with acceleration in this case is that students forget what acceleration they're really working with and which direction.  After this assessment, they seemed to understand better about vectors and gravity.
Animation Presentation
1.  Introduce animation
2.  Discuss vectors
3.  Practice with bouncing ball
4.  Add colorful vectors to bouncing ball

What you end up with is some really cool artwork for the classroom.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Graduation Station

Well it's official.  I have a Master's in Education.  Does that feel like a good life choice?  Yes.  Does going to the commencement ceremony...?  Yes and no.

First, I forgot I went to a Jesuit school.  While I think what the Jesuit order is all about is really groovy, I'm not terribly religious any more.  So the faith based speakers didn't quite inspire me to be the change I want to see in the world.

Oddly enough, I think graduation reminded me of how insulated from the world I've become.  Being a teacher, it's easy to hole yourself away in a classroom and forget that there is something out there.  I spend so much time thinking or worrying about students that, frankly, my social life is coming home and watching Daredevil with my boyfriend.  Which is an awesome show, by the way.  I talk more to teachers and kids than mundanes only a daily basis, so I forget that not everyone's world rotates around what this kid did when and why.  I'm hoping next year, when my classroom is actually inside the main building, I may have a few more connections, but I'm not holding my breath.

Why this came into such stark view was when I saw my friends being closer friends with everyone but me.  I'm an introvert, and I'm ok with that.  However, it does feel icky when you're the 17th wheel in a group you used to be an integral part of.  I guess graduation is a way of reminding you it's time to move on, to the next part or the next thing.  It's closing a book, putting on the shelf and finding something new.  It can be related, or completely different.  For me, this book has been winding down for a while.  I know I'll still be friends with all of these people, and I still am.  They will be characters in my next book, but maybe not quite as prominent as they were in this one.  I think my next book is going to be a sequel, to be honest.

I don't like the phrase next chapter.  That assumes that the narrative is directly related and the story has no resolution.  Graduate school has a resolution.  I graduated.  I took pictures.  Yay.  Now, it's time for the new story, but it's not unrelated, hence sequel.  All of the lessons from my last phase will be applied with vigor to the next, even more than between college and graduate school.

Undergrad to graduate school were incredibly different, in both population, content and focus.  Undergrad was about me learning what I wanted when I wanted and enjoying life.  Graduate school was learning how to serve others and relate my knowledge in a way that others can understand.  Also, it was way more writing.  Not going to lie, I miss problem sets.  Also, I spent the last two years in the company of teachers, who are definitely my people.  I don't fit, but I fit slightly better than in college.
Anyway, this got off topic quickly.  Graduation:  it's about moving forward.  Which is why I'm kind of moving backward and focusing on art again for a while.  It's something I haven't focused on in 3 years, so I suppose I should.  Plus, I need a hobby this summer.  I can't NOT do something.

I'm happy I'm a teacher, and with the choices I've made, which is always a good sign.  This next phase is going to be difficult, amazing, challenging and a bit undirected, a change for me.  I'll figure it out, one way or another.
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